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August 30, 2005

taking a cue from Alison

Or, if I blog about it, it will go away...

This afternoon I headed to a high school for one of Pfitzinger's rare track workouts (6x600). There was a foootball practice going on so I ran a longer-than usual warmup hoping they'd get done and I could do the 600s in peace. 200m into the first item I felt my left hamstring tear, or pull, maybe just cramp, but I knew I had to stop right away. I muttered oh shit, eased up and trotted the rest of the way round the track. Packed my things and drove home, and now I've got the capsaicin cream and ace bandage going, and I'm trying to keep the leg out straight so the hamstring won't contract.

I don't know what this is or whether a night in an ace badnage will take care of it. I feel a little bad for missing a workout (more than a recovery slog, too). But on the other hand, last year I kept running on the initial twinge which became a pain, then an ache, and then eventually a stress fracture. Not only did I keep running on it, but I kept trying to make up for all the hard workouts I'd missed because it hurt too much to run. I need to keep this in mind before I try to include a 6x600 within the 15-miler I have scheduled tomorrow morning.

Posted by joe positive at 7:14 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2005

the early guy

There is something perversely cool about running six pokey recovery miles in 90-degree fading sun, then coming in and having a bourbon-and-coke.

I mentioned a week or two ago that my work schedule was going to change to something more rigid but less arduous. It amounts to one week early, one week late, one week on-call nights/weekends but no set daytime hours. This week I'm the early guy.

This means I'll be getting up at 4:45 for all the morning workouts, but it also means getting off work at the ungodly hour of 4:30ish, dealing with relatively light traffic, and running my pokey afternoon recovery workouts at home. And having a bourbon-and-diet (don't laugh) right afterward if I want.

Posted by joe positive at 6:52 PM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2005

catching up

Today I ran 18 miles, making this an inadvertent killer weekend (31 miles) after an advertent killer week (89 miles, the highest to date). I am not dead, though all of it's starting to catch up with me - I'm just sort of stiff and sore and motivationless this afternoon. If I can do the dishes and catch up with email, I'll call it a day.

The first 11 weeks of the P plan are done. Unbelievable. I have four more weeks of hard training, and then a 3-week taper, which is something the running-club coach never prescribed. If I can get to mid-October with no injuries, that itself will be an accomplishment.

Posted by joe positive at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2005

sacred author

Back from vacation, back to work, back from the miserable raceday heat of West Virginia to the everyday heat of west central Florida. At least hurricane Katrina stayed away from here. The east side of the state was not so lucky.

We left WVa Sunday and drove to Baltimore for my husband's grandmother's 86th birthday. After the birthday dinner we got back in the car to start on the 14-hour haul back to Tampa; I had a 24-miler scheduled for Tuesday so I wanted to get back Monday night if possible (typing this right now I realize how idiotic and selfish that sounds; I'm really glad my husband runs too, otherwise he'd never put up with it). We made it to Richmond, and after a little sleep I hit the fabulous Hampton Inn fitness center for some treadmill miles. I was supposed to run 10, but the TV was tuned to decnalab n raif and after 7 miles I'd had enough. Then we drove like mad and made it home Monday night in time to see the fairly sad last episode ever of Six Feet Under.

Tuesday morning was the 24-miler, which is the longest I'd ever run in training. It wasn't too bad; I split it up into 3 8-mile loops and tried not to drag. I was fine until the first half of the last loop; I suddenly ran out of gas, then had to slow a little, then a lot because of some sharp pain in my foot (peroneal tendon, to be exact). I thought I was going to have to bail, but running with better form helped, and after a few miles the pain went away as mysteriously as it had come on. By then my pace had slipped to the 9s, but I decided I was gonna force myself to run 7:30s for the last mile and a half, and somehow I did.

The rest of the work week was pretty nondescript with the exception of a good 15-miler on Thursday. Today was the dreaded tempo run, and the dread was even bigger and badder after that miserable half last week. It turned out fine, almost. The first mile felt hard but not impossible, and it turned out I was going about 15s too fast. I settled into the right pace and began to realize that this would be a 10K PR if I could hold it through the entire 7 miles. Which I could have, I think, if my stomach hadn't exploded around 4.5 miles. I had to stop home for a few minutes. Boy was I mad; I'd taken every precaution: got up plenty early, drank coffee, took immodium, stopped home after the warmup, blah blah blah. After that fun I did the last 2.5 miles, and after an uneven half-mile I got back on pace. I ended up with 6:45 pace for the 7 miles, which is still faster than my 10K PR pace.

So the questions I'm chewing on now are: why can't I do this in a real race, and why did the prospect of success make my stomach explode? I'm afraid the answer is I'm a bit of a head case. I hope that's not the answer, so I'll chew on the questions a little more.

Posted by joe positive at 4:45 PM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2005

how not to dnf

Today I ran another personal worst half marathon. It was a lot warmer than I thought it would be, and I made some of the usual mistakes and a few new ones too. I'd decided to try for 7:10s for a few miles and see if I could pick it up any after that. The temp was only 73 at the start but the humidity was 93%. You'd think I'd be used to that, but there's a reason why we don't put on half marathons in Florida this time of year. Anyway, my first mile was 6:46. My second had a long grinding uphill and was 7:14. I learned that my usual way of going uphill (high cadence) was going to wear me down quickly, but I couldn't get up the hills any other way. By 4 miles or so we were running into the sun, and we started seeing early dnfs (Kenyans even) by the side of the road.

I trudged on, pace veering between 6:52 and 7:30, finally stopping for water around mile 8 because I felt some chills and worried about dehydration. I pulled over and walked but couldn't catch my breath enough to drink. By this time my brain wasn't working too well and I actually turned around and walked a few steps back along the course because I thought I needed to drink within the cup-throwing-down zone (has anyone else ever thought that? please, somebody say yes). A guy running by said "c'mon, I was pacing off you" and I said "so you were going slower and slower too?" but the fog cleared and I started running again.

Minutes later I had a bad cramp or stitch in my side, and at the next water stop I finally pulled off for good. Or so I thought. I stopped my watch and asked a volunteer how I could get back to town. He said there wouldn't be a sag wagon for a very long time. I pondered this while I drank some ice water, then asked another volunteer, who said the same thing, then gave me some directions back to town which essentially followed the race course. I realized they weren't kidding about a ride back to town so I decided to run back at whatever pace I could manage. Of course all that ice water was murder on the cramp, and I had to stop and double over once.

Eventually I found some legs again, and during the last 4 miles of the race I ran progressively faster, ending with 7:20-somethings. I ended up with 1:41:01 chip time and 1:39:10 watch time (because I'd stopped it while hanging around the water stop not dnf-ing). My left leg is very sore along the shin just above the ankle, so I really blew it today. I ran a lousy race - just a few seconds faster than my 16-miler last weekend, and much much slower than my MP (ha) run a few weeks ago. And I may be looking at an injury that will interfere with the rest of my training. Shit.

Posted by joe positive at 2:06 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2005

from a motel 6

Actually, that's not true - I'm sitting in a room in a really nice hotel in Parkersburg, WV. There's a half-marathon tomorrow morning, and the start and finsh are a couple of blocks from here, which is perfect. The weather should be high 60s or low 70s - not quite so perfect, but still a lot cooler than I'm used to lately.

I'm in the 2nd day of a blessed week of vacation. Yesterday we drove from Tampa to a little town just north of Charlotte NC and stayed in a motel that couldn't hold a candle to motel 6. It was also in one of the worst areas for running I've ever seen, so this morning I ran around the parking lot (maybe 1/3 mile per loop) until I couldn't stand it any more. I only completed 5 of the scheduled 8 miles. I may make it up or I may not.

I'm not sure yet what to try for tomorrow. I want to do well, but I don't want to jeopardize the marathon training. This will be the first race since the beginning of June, and the first half-marathon since the disaster in Naples in January. If I try to run it as a marathon-pace run, I have instant excuses for the course (hilly) and the weather and the wimpiness I know I have in great quantities. And I know that a MP pace run will be a half-marathon PR anyway, because my half-Ms have been lousy and my PR is almost 2 years old. On the other hand, if I don't try hard, I'll kick myself.

Posted by joe positive at 4:14 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2005


This weekend I did not have to work overnight Saturday (yay), which meant that I could get to bed early enough to get up early enough to go run with people today. I hadn't run with the running-club people since May, and I was sort of looking forward to 16 miles with company.

Some things never change. I went out way too fast - my 2nd mile was 7:10, which is too fast for me at the beginning of a medium-long run (or any run, for that matter). After the first 4-mile loop I tried hanging with some people I used to run with last summer, but I couldn't stay back and ended up running alone at some pace between the fast and not-as-fast guys. Why does sub-9 sometimes feel like a struggle but 8:30s sometimes feel like a crawl? With 6 miles to go, we parted ways for good, and I ran in solo. By then it was sunny, 82F, 100%RH, and a lot less pleasant. Now I'm all tired and tight and sore, and I wish someone had slapped me during the first loop and then a few times thereafter.

I found myself watching - and enjoying - the PAX coverage of the World Championships. Not that I enjoyed PAX's coverage so much (today's was delayed by the end of a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game, fer chrissake), but track and field seems a lot more interesting to me this year. Of course, I was mainly interested in the marathons, but the rest of it was kinda cool too. I think I read more letsrun forum posts this weekend than I have the whole rest of my life up to now. My general impression of letsrun is a lot of boys posting aight, u r a fag, i run 13:28, that one gurl is hot, but this weekend at least they were talking about the championships. Hardly anyone else was.

Instead, coolrunning has been infested with wingnuts insisting that our boys in Iraq are there to protect our (US) freedom, that gas prices are being raised to fund the Iraqi terrorists who masterminded 911, that it is self-centered and egomaniacal and unpatriotic to go to a running forum and talk about your training and your races and your goals, jeez louise. This kind of talk has popped up the the masters forum, of all places, which is usually too friendly-folksy for misanthropes like myself but has remained the one forum immune from fighting and biting. Anyway, I have just about given up on that site (except for the running log) for good. The only things that hold my interest are a couple of very smart people in the clubhouse and the sporadic attempts to bait or mock maryt.

But I am a running-forum junkie. How will I satisfy my addiction?

Posted by joe positive at 5:30 PM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2005

no-dog day

Things have gotten a little better since Wednesday's fiasco. Yesterday was supposed to be pure recovery - 6 miles in the morning and 4 in the evening - and I kid you not I skipped the evening run! Just ate some dinner and passed out on the couch by 9:45.

This morning I had 13 scheduled, and I hoped to make up for the unfabulous 15 on Wednesday, and I pretty much did. After warming up 4 miles I managed to stay under 8min pace the rest of the run, except for the recovery mile I always take when I come out of the little hills.

I was so happy about the morning's run that I decided to hit the gym after work for that 4-mile recovery run I blew off yesterday.

Best of all: I don't have to work this weekend! I mean, I could if I wanted to. But I don't want to, and I'm not gonna.

Posted by joe positive at 8:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

dog day

Today was supposed to be a big day: 15 in the morning, and 4 in the afternoon. It was so big that I decided to work from home so I could get the miles in and not have to worry about the shower and the commute and anything (distractions, idiots, broken servers) that might keep me from being able to run this afternoon.

As it turned out, the whole day sucked. This morning was the worst run I've had in a long, long time. There were loose dogs and people and monster trucks pulling huge boats. I started out in the pitch-black dark, ran 3 miles really slow and then picked it up. Too much. And it was too dark to see the numbers clearly on the GPS (once you hit masters, your eyes go).

So eventually I noticed I was going too fast so I slowed down, started dayreaming, then obsessing about work. My fairly loose 24x7 schedule may soon change to a more rigid, fewer-hours schedule, which would be great except that the rigidity will really cut into my ability to run when it best suits me (at dawn). I spent quite a few miles wondering how I could continue training, hating my job, and deploring my decision to take this job or any job in which computers and/or hardware and/or software are more important than I will ever be.

Along with the daydreaming (or maybe because of it) I began to feel pretty bad, physically. I was thirsty and dizzy and nauseated, so I stopped home just past 11 miles to drink some gatorade-tinged water. It took a few minutes to feel un-sick enough to go on, and my husband (bless him) tried to join me for the last 4. Alas. My legs felt heavy, I had stitches in my side and my back (of all places), my blood sugar dropped after the gatorade vaporized, my breathing was labored at 9-minute pace. I was a wreck. I stopped twice in those last 4 miles, and once I started to cry out of frustration and general crappy-feelingness.

I finally got home, worked all day, finished the day with just a little less to do than I had at the start, then went out to run 4 "recovery" miles in the blazing 6-o'clock sun. More dogs, people, trucks and cars. My whole body hurts. I haven't had supper yet but I could go to bed right now and sleep until morning.

Posted by joe positive at 7:12 PM | Comments (2)

August 8, 2005


At the pricy private school I attended for a few years, the teacher in charge of all "social studies" -type classes made no secret of the fact that she had a huge crush on Peter Jennings. Somehow the senior class - bluebloods all, and children of parents with strings to pull - managed to arrange for her to go on a date with him. I think they actually flew her to wherever he was, and they went to dinner or something.

Posted by joe positive at 7:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2005

some non-running stuff that makes my day

Reading some of the other blogs Alison is hosting I am struck by the way details about normal, non-running life are so easily included. I sometimes write that all I ever do is run, sleep, and work, but just so no one thinks I'm 100% serious, here are some things that make me happy lately.

Tall Dwarfs
March of the Penguins
New Zealand
this guy, who is about the cutest T-SQL genius on the planet. There's about 300 pounds of brain packed into a 120-pound body. I am in love with his mind.
Milan Kundera
puffy cheetos, actually just about all food
walking around old US cities wondering about the architecture

Posted by joe positive at 3:11 PM | Comments (0)

week 8 of 18

8 down and 10 weeks to go in this adventure. Runningwise I am very satisfied with this week. After the tempo run in Tuesday and the 15-miler on Wednesday, I had a couple days to goof off before the much-dreaded Saturday workout - 16 miles with 12 at (goal) marathon pace. By Friday night I was sure I wouldn't be able to do it, and would hurt like hell trying.

Saturday the pager woke me at 3:30 and it took 15 minutes to fix whatever was broken and about 45 minutes to get back to sleep. I got up and out the door by 5:45 for 4 miles of warmup, and then my husband joined me on his bike for the faster part. My goal was to do the 12 at 7:15 - 7:25 average pace, but I ran the first couple of miles under 7 minutes and it didn't feel too bad, so I decided to keep my legs turning over and not worry so much. My stomach forced a stop home after 6.5 miles, but I was able to get on pace again after that. My husband - bless him - decided to ride the whole way with me, sometimes chatting but mostly just hanging out (I was limited to 1- or 2-syllable sentences anyway, so I wasn't much company). In the end I managed 7:06 pace for the 12 miles, so I'm pretty happy; that pace beats my 20K PR.

At 81 miles, this week marks 4 80+ weeks in a row, uncharted territory for me. But nothing's overly sore and nothing's broken!

Next week (this coming week, rather) is a little cutback - only 77 miles, and most of it easy. And I'm not on call, either, and per my husband's suggestion I'm going to try like hell to stop checking my work email after the workday is done. I want to take this week to rest and let my legs recover from everything I did to them these past 7 days.

Posted by joe positive at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)

August 3, 2005


Yesterday's tempo run (tempo intervals, really), along with a little more than the usual work-stress, made today's 15-miler seem a lot easier than most 15-milers have been lately. I said I wouldn't push, and I didn't push, yet I still ended up with some nice miles and a faster pace than last week's 15.

Now comes two days of easy easy easy nothing recovery doubles. Almost like sitting around with my legs propped up, ahhh. Until the marathon-pace run Saturday.

Posted by joe positive at 7:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2005

one down, one to go

When I titled Sunday's post What a Slacker, I meant slacking in blogging, not in training. Even though I'm slow, I know I've been running a fair amount. For me, anyway. I take a little perverse comfort in the fact that the slower I am, the longer I go, and I can qualify for the "15-hour boomers" thread in coolrunning. I view this as sort of an anti-fredurie thread, which appeals to me very much.

Anyway, this morning I did the first of 2 scary workouts this week. It was the dreaded 12 miles with 6 at "tempo" (6:45 - 7:00 for this slow joe). I was afraid it would hurt and I'd find some reason to bail or stop in the middle. To my surprise, it didn't really hurt, but my stomach got hard-run fever so I did end up having to stop in the middle. After a short stop home I ran the other 3 miles, but my stomach did not let up and I had to stop home once more before the cooldown. I ended up with 6:46, 6:50, 6:48/bio-break/6:56, 7:02, 6:58. My husband says it's definitely something to feel happy about, but I wonder how I'd have done if I hadn't stopped after the first 3 miles; would I have been able to hold the pace, or would my legs have died by the end?

On the other hand, my 10K PR pace (set in March) is 6:49, so 6 miles near that pace does make me kind of happy.

Tomorrow is a 15-mile medium-long run, but I'm not going to try to push it to a progression run or anything unless I feel fabulous, and I don't think I will. Thursday and Friday are recovery-doubles, and then Saturday is the next scary workout: 16 miles with 12 at marathon pace. I'm planning to run the marathon-pace part not at my real (recent) marathon pace but at my goal marathon pace. Ha.

I'm on call this week, and I've had to work one evening already (and I'm getting ready to work some tonight), but I haven't been woken from sleep yet. That's a good sign.

Posted by joe positive at 7:03 PM | Comments (1)